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Winter shopping best practices: What retailers should know about the holidays

Winter Holiday Shopping

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and for retailers this is one of the biggest times of the year — with up to 30 percent of annual sales accounted for in this period, according to NRF.

ForeSee’s research indicates that while holiday shopping is still a priority, the majority of consumers plan to spend about as much as they did last year. That means competition among retailers remains high, and those that optimize their digital channels — among other things — will likely see success.

Customer Journey Begin and End

Data from the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) 2015 report.

One way to do this is to provide an experience that is consistent across channels. ForeSee research shows that only 23% of customers that begin shopping from a mobile device usually end up making a purchase from mobile. The majority end their shopping journey via another channel, such as desktop websites (50%), in-store (23%), or another option (4%). The point being, consumers expect a clear, consistent experience regardless of how they’re interacting with a brand.

Other areas that matter to consumers include providing quality merchandise, attractive prices, free shipping, and better customer service.

Here are some best practices retailers should take note of to improve their experiences and increase the bottom line going into this year’s holiday shopping season.

Sales category & subcategories – While providing competitive pricing for items is important, it’s just as important to make sure consumers are aware of them. Adding a “Sales” section within the category navigation menu on a website can help draw attention to these items. Taking it a step further, some consumers prefer navigating to sales items within specific product categories, or subcategories.

Add promotion end dates – Much like making Sale items more visible, the same is true for any promotional deals or offers a retailer might be running. Adding messages that include offer end dates alongside  the offer or deal will add a sense of urgency, while also providing customers with useful information as they make decisions about when to shop and whether to make a purchase.

Highlighting customer service info – Making sure customer service contact details are prominently displayed throughout the site can help consumers by making them aware that these options are available if needed while shopping. Additionally, make sure to provide clearly displayed links to retailer return policies on product pages, the shopping cart, and the website’s footer.

Gift Message Options

Gifting options – Retailers that provide gifting options — such as the ability to include a personal note for items purchased online — would do well to display these options on product pages for eligible items.

Examples of additional gifting options helpful to consumers during winter holiday shopping.

Examples of additional gifting options helpful to consumers during winter holiday shopping.

Expanded gift features – Also beneficial is highlighting items eligible for gifting options in the shopping cart and providing functionality to customize those gifts. For example: gift message character counts, ability to ship a gift recipe for individual items, ability to specify which items in a shopping cart should be wrapped together, and options to select gift wrap style, if applicable.

Shipping clarity – Ensure that shipping information is prominently displayed alongside sales promotions. Also, include shipping information on product pages.

Shipping expectations – During checkout, ForeSee recommends retailers provide a variety of shipping options — and to do so in a way that clearly and concisely displays the type of shipping, date ranges, and price. It’s also worth considering providing customers with incentives to select a slower shipping time.

Interested in finding out additional retail insights, such as comparing your brand’s performance in a variety of categories to other competitors in your industry? Download the August 2016 ForeSee Retail Benchmark Report or contact us today.



About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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